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The studies did not look at the 50 percent or more of vaccinations paid for by government, which generally provides free vaccines to doctors and covers administrative fees.
In New York state, some doctors actually do better financially with the government vaccine program than they do on the private market, with the government's administrative fee double or triple what some private insurers pay. But some business-savvy doctors can still make at least a small profit on vaccines in the private market, said Lessin, who is vice president of a 24-physician pediatric practice.
Most pediatricians are likely to keep giving vaccinations to kids, partly because of altruism and partly because giving shots drives business. "For us to give up vaccines would hurt our core business because that's why kids come in," Lessin said.
But family practice doctors -- who are not as dependent on vaccinations for patients -- may decide the shots are too much of a financial headache, he added.
Indeed, the new studies reflected that schism: Overall 11 percent of physicians have seriously considered stopping vaccinations for privately insured patients. But 21 percent of family doctors felt that way, compared with just 5 percent of pediatricians.
The financial problem has been getting worse in recent years, as more vaccines have come on the market, experts say. Some have been unusually expensive, including Gardasil, a vaccine for girls against cervical cancer which is given in three doses over six months and is priced at about $375 for the series.
A government advisory panel studying the financial burden of vaccines is expected to submit proposals for changes in reimbursement practices to federal health officials next year.
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